Category Archives: 5 Minutes With…

Short interviews with role models, experts, mentors and creatives.

Daytrippers New Year Baby: Elliott Preston

Daytrippers New Year Baby - 6 Month Old Elliott Preston

Daytrippers New Year Baby – 6 Month Old Elliott Preston

Nurse and mother-of-three MELANIE PRESTON from Knoxville, Tennessee writes about life with Daytrippers New Year Baby; ELLIOTT PRESTON.  Melanie has agreed to regularly update We Are Daytrippers (THANK YOU!) to share with readers about her experience caring for a child with down syndrome.  (Don’t miss the beautiful photos of Elliott’s previous five months at the end of this post).

Melanie’s update:

“Last year this same week we found out Elliott would have an extra chromosome and while I wasn’t shocked, it certainly wasn’t what I “wanted” … fast forward to the beginning of 2015 and he is everything we wanted, needed and more!

I suppose it’s fair to say he makes us appreciate the little things in life more.  Things that I’ve never even considered with my other children … like reaching for toys, propping up on elbows and then hands, et cetera.  Sure, I remember Elliotts siblings milestones (mostly because one was super late and the other was super freakishly early); but did I celebrate them?  Not like we do (and will) with Elliott.

There is just so much work involved for something so simple like reaching his hands above his shoulder height (that was a huge one!).  Low muscle tone is also a subject of concern.  It is real and fascinating.  One of the neatest things to see is his older sister (by 17 months) is his biggest cheerleader.  She claps and jumps up and down for him – it’s adorable and I hope she remains his biggest advocate throughout his entire life.

The Preston Family

The Preston Family

Overall, Elliott is doing well developmentally for a child with down syndrome. We are working with physical therapists to help him sit and he is making huge strides.  The occupational therapist discharged him because he had met current goals and will re-evaluate when he is around 10 months.  He is about to start some puréed foods so we have an evaluation with speech therapy just so they can see how he does.  Speaking of appointments … can you say more than we can count?  Seriously!  It’s been busy in the Preston household. That’s really the only “change” to our lives in the past year and to be fair – a lot of those appointments are not only Elliott’s but his siblings as well, so it could also be very much part of having three kids?!

We have a cardiology appointment coming up in a few weeks to see how the two holes in his heart are healing so that’s our next big “thing.”  We have been so thankful this year to have had a positive experience through diagnosis, delivery, and beyond.  It’s very helpful to be surrounded by so many supportive family, friends and medical professionals but sadly I am incredibly aware that is not the norm.  Sure Elliott is different but so what!  (Aren’t we all?).   Difference is what makes us unique and he is certainly no less unique than I am!  So Happy New Year 2015 and cheers to being maybe not so different after all?”

Past articles with Melanie and Elliott:

  • Read about when Melanie found out she was having a baby with down syndrome: http://wp.me/p4FQqM-11
  • Read about when Melanie delivered Elliott herself in the car (a shock to all!): http://wp.me/p4FQqM-2v
  • Read about Elliott’s first month of life:  http://wp.me/p4FQqM-3R

We cannot get enough of these adorable pictures of Elliott’s first five months:

Elliott Preston in the NICU

Elliott Preston in the NICU

 

 

Elliott Preston - 1 Month Old

Elliott – 1 Month Old

 

Elliott - 2 Months Old

Elliott – 2 Months Old

 

Elliott - 3 Months Old

Elliott – 3 Months Old

 

Elliott - 4 Months Old

Elliott – 4 Months Old

 

 

 

Elliott - 5 Month Old

Elliott – 5 Month Old

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5 Minutes With … Daytrippers Celebrity Ambassador Kurt Yaeger

We got lucky!  Daytrippers Celebrity Ambassador KURT YAEGER  recently devoted an afternoon to answer a few questions for We Are Daytrippers in the midst of his very busy schedule.  Thanks so much Kurt.  We love what you said in this video as it was inspirational, encouraging and gives us insight into what makes you, you!  Don’t miss these five minutes with Kurt Yaeger:

Connect with Kurt Yaeger:  @kurtyaeger

http://kurtyaeger.com/

*Many thanks also to Brian Ging and Stacy Kesten – a dynamic film duo out of Los Angeles who took the time to interview Kurt.

 

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When I was a kid: Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

 

NOAM CHOMSKY, the eighty-five year old Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, finally took the bait.  After writing a love letter to him in September he responded that he appreciated it and also wrote that Daytrippers Children’s Charity was “a wonderful mission and when asked his favourite thing to do as a child; he said:

 

“I guess my favorite thing to do as a young child was to play all day at the beach in the summer, and when I was a little older, to curl up in a corner with a pile of books.”

Noam Chomsky as a child

Noam Chomsky as a child

Noam Chomsky was born in 1928 in Philadelphia, a point in time that seems distant to most of us; yet childhood enjoyments remain the same in any era.  We love the thought of a young Noam tucked in a small space reading countless books, questioning everything he read and unaware of the man he would eventually become – it aligns with his remarkably insatiable quest for knowledge, transformation, excellence and philosophy of the mind.

Daytrippers receives many applications to fund group days out to the seaside.  For some kids, it might be the first or only time they will ever experience the beach.  In Chomsky’s quote for We Are Daytrippers about his favourite thing to do as a child, Mr. Chomsky reminds us that a day at the beach and having the time to read a good book is full of rewards.

Thank you to Noam Chomsky for your contribution!

Love,

The Daytrippers Team

Does Mr. Chomsky like books or what?

Does Mr. Chomsky like books or what?

Connect with Mr. Chomsky:  http://www.chomsky.info/

 

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5 Minutes With … Freestyle Footballer Colin Nell

Professional Football Freestyler Colin Nell

Professional Football Freestyler Colin Nell

Media Entertainer and Football Freestyler, COLIN NELL recently performed at the Daytrippers Pan-Disability Football Tournament where he wowed the kids and adults alike.  He is undoubtedly an incredible talent; but what sets him apart from other expert freestylers is his desire to also help others and his innate ability to make people and children feel at ease.  The Londoner began his career in 2000 after being spotted by Nike Executives and the rest is history.   A quick google search brings you to his countless advertisements, videos, performances and promotions.  He is a resounding success and headed for more.  Do check out a few performances from Mr. Nell HERE and prepare to be impressed.

We Are Daytrippers are very happy to have his contribution in the 5 Minutes With section!

The Daytrippers Team:  Did you have a role model or mentor as a child?  

Colin Nell:  Growing up I used to really look up to sporting heroes. My first hero mentor was my father as he always played sports and encouraged me to do my best.  I always wanted to show him how good I was, however, the older I got I found many others to look up to. Firstly, Zinadine Zidane who I met in 2013, there were others such as Prince Naseem Hamed (boxer), Linford Christie (athlete), and also Muhammad Ali. However, even up to date I draw inspiration from so many influential people who I like to model myself on.DANCING WITH FIREFLIES_preview (2)

The Daytrippers Team:  What is your creative talent?

Colin Nell:   I would like to think I have many talents however most obvious is my freestyle football skills. The best way to cultivate it is to work hard and perfect this craft in as many ways as possible. This can be done through eating well and training to stay in shape, mentally staying focused and having a goal I would like to achieve with it – and finally having a lifestyle balance that allows this be worked into my daily routine and life. One must always have a goal or target to aim for or his work is never fully reached or obtained!

The Daytrippers Team:  What motivates or inspires you to be creative?

Colin Nell:  I have to say that I draw inspiration from so many people such as speakers, leaders, sportsmen and also my family. I have a desire to achieve so many things and often look towards those who have done something that has never been done before them such as putting the man on the moon, the tall sky-scrapers we see everyday and also the advances mankind has made.  Seeing my family and friends enjoy my success and the fruits it brings spurs me on the achieve higher everyday.

The Daytrippers Team:  Have you had experience with disabled or terminally-ill people?

Colin Nell:  Yes I have worked many times with the disabled; mainly in a sporting environment in London, Jersey and all over the UK. I have also run freestyle football sessions for terminally-ill children at UCLH hospital in London which was very rewarding for me and the patients.

Colin Nell working with Daytrippers kids in 2014

Colin Nell working with Daytrippers kids in 2014

The Daytrippers Team:  Do you have any advice for children who are currently facing difficulties?

Colin Nell:  I would say that we should all keep the faith always. We constantly get tested and face many difficulties however we must also think of those who are less fortunate then us. Showing patience and gratitude for what we have also helps massively. Many times in life we find it so hard to make sense of the world we live in however after every hardship always comes ease. Life is far too short and we must make the most of every second we have as we have one life and must live it well!

The Daytrippers Team:  Would you share a challenge in your life?

Colin Nell:  Back in 2004 I went to play football in Barcelona on trial for Columbus Crew FC an American MLS team. Whilst I was there, an unfortunate fall out with the management where some disagreed that I should have been invited to play. Whilst I was there I also became sick from Hepatitis A through seafood which wasn’t cleaned properly. I ended up leaving early to come home due to sickness which took 2 weeks in hospital as well as no football team to play for. This also effected me with freestyle football as Vodafone UK wanted me to shoot a commercial for them which I also lost out on because I was ill. I was very down and of course ill at the time however I quickly learnt in life that I had to be patient and also mentally stronger as I believe everything happens for a reason. My faith as a Muslim and support from my family and friends helped me so much and I will never forget this. I had to come back stronger and later on I am pleased to say that I ended up bettering myself and had bigger and better opportunities!

The Daytrippers Team:  Who is currently your role model?

Colin Nell:   My current role model is the Prophet Muhammad. As a Muslim I use his example in many ways to help improve my lifestyle – however ones that are still living; Sir Jackie Stewart (motor racing) who has become a very good friend, Muhammad Ali (boxer) who has had an amazing career and been through so many hardships. That would be great to meet him one day.

The Daytrippers Team:  Thank you so much Colin.

Colin Nell freestyling in front of Tower Bridge

Colin Nell freestyling in front of Tower Bridge

Connect with Colin Nell: http://www.colinnell.co.uk

 

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5 Minutes With … Kin Molina

Musician Kin Molina

Photograph by Carlos Jimenez.

Spanish journalist KIN MOLINA  was ready for a career change.  Brook from The Daytrippers Team spoke to Molina over a year ago and recalls him saying “My last interview was with Emma Stone, some American girl and I have to keep replaying the interview over and over to understand her accent!”  Molina (also known as Joaquin Molina Reina) returned to a career in music (he also occasionally makes time to cook a superb authentic paella for his neighbours!).  Authentic, wise and talented are three words to easily describe the hard-working singer and composer whose most recent album does not disappoint.  We Are Daytrippers are thankful he took time out for a brief interview:

 

The Daytrippers Team:  Who was your role model or mentor as a child?

Kin Molina:  If I had to choose a role model, it would be my mother without any doubt.  My father had problems with alcohol and my family (mum, brother and I) dealt with that situation the best way we could.  I’m Spanish and during the seventies, when I was a child, it was not very easy for women in my country.  My mother was a nurse and she worked very hard for my brother and I to have a decent life.  I remember her as a very modern and beautiful woman (she still is!), always happy and in a good mood.  She always made the most out of the difficult situation we were living in.

The Daytrippers Team:  Who is currently your role model?

Kin Molina:  As a journalist I have interviewed many famous people:  Francis Ford Coppola, Helen Mirren, Dolce and Gabbana, Tamara Rojo … to name a few.  but there was one person that made a very big impression on me; the Kenyan environmental and political activist Wangari Maathai.  She won the Nobel Prize in 2004.  A brave woman who dedicated her life to promote the recovery of the forests in Kenya and other countries.  She died in 2011.  I think she is a role model to follow for the future generations.

In the early 80’s, I worked for a literary magazine in my home city, Málaga.  I was also a part time poet and published a few poems.  At the same time, I was working in a publishing house called Dador that was dedicated to recovering hidden gems of Spanish and Latin American literature, the Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas was among them.  We met him in Madrid at the end of the 80’s and I remember him as a person full of life and joy in spite of the hardships he had endured.  At that time we met, he was exiled from Miami and unfortunately later died of AIDS.  There is a very interesting film about his life called Before Night Falls by Julian Schnabel with Javier Bardem in the role of Reinaldo Arenas.

The Daytrippers Team:  What is your creative talent and how do you cultivate it?

Kin Molina:  I wrote my first song when I was around 17.  It was a very gloomy and gothic song about a plague in a city.  During the eighties I was a member of a techno-pop band called Requiem.  We played together for five years and after the band split I went solo for a couple of years in a project more similar to electronic cabaret.  After that period of my life I moved to Madrid and went into journalism, writing for national magazines.  Recently, I returned to music after moving to London and I’m preparing to release an album.

The Daytrippers Team:  Have you had any experience with disabled people?

Kin Molina:  Yes, I have indeed.  My brother contracted polio when he was one year old.  It affected his left leg.  I am three years younger than him so as far as I can remember my brother has always been dealing with this issue.  Until adolescence it was not a big problem.  We played together, we went to the beach with my mother, and we did the usual things that boys do.  But when he was 13 or 14, everything changed.  My brother stopped coming with us to the beach and became more reclusive for a few years.  I suppose this was because he was self-conscious, but he did not and does not talk much about that.

The Daytrippers Team:  Who and what motivates and inspires you to be creative?  

Kin Molina:  Films, Art, Life.  I love Nina Simone, Marianne Faithfull, Nico, Kate Bush, Diamanda Galás, The Associates, David Bowie, Scott Walker, Brian Eno, Nick Cave, Kurt Weill … the list can go on.  If I have to choose one person, without a doubt Marc Almond would be the main source of inspiration in my music.

The Daytrippers Team:  Thank you so much Kin Molina for your time.

Connect with Kin Molina:  @kin_molina

 

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5 Minutes With … Leon Logothetis

 

Leon cuddling a Boston Terrier.

Leon cuddling a Boston Terrier.

Not only does LEON LOGOTHETIS believe in being a kind person; he believes in the kindness of others.  According to Leon you can find kind people everywhere – all over the world in fact (and he would know).  Mr. Logothetis has been to every continent, visited 50 countries and hosted the TV series ‘Amazing Adventures of a Nobody.’  He documented his travels getting by on £5.00 per day and the decency of others in the form of his book The Kindness Diaries (available for purchase December 2014).

We Are Daytrippers think that any person who takes life by the horns and goes for it like Leon does deserves high marks in our book!  On his website it states:  “Changing lives one adventure at a time.”  Daytrippers can certainly relate to that challenge.  We are thankful to Leon for his time in this brief interview.

 

The Daytrippers Team: Who is currently your role model or mentor?

Leon Logothetis: I would say that the people I meet on my adventures around the world are my mentors & my role models. They teach me how to be a better person and how to see that there are two sides to every story. They also keep me humble and keep me on my toes.

Ultimately, i guess what i am saying is that ‘people’ from all walks of life have taught me that we really are all the same. We have good traits. we have bad traits. But at base we all want the same things: Love. Acceptance. Hope.

The Daytrippers Team:  Did you have a role model or mentor as a child?

Leon Logothetis: I had a mentor when I was a teenager, Dr Susan Mann.  She taught me to believe in myself. She taught the power of kindness and the necessity of following your dreams.

Leon goes bonkers!

Leon goes bonkers!

The Daytrippers Team:  What is your creative talent?

Leon Logothetis: I think my creative talent is in my writing and in my ability to connect with people. I cultivated both of these things by taking risks!

The Daytrippers Team:  Would you share a challenge in your life? 

Leon Logothetis: One of the greatest challenges I had in my life was living someone else’s definition of my life. My failure to live my own dreams led me towards depression and disappointment. when I left my job as  a broker I found the courage to be the person I always wanted to be.  In finding that courage, I have been inspired by many people along the way; people who have made me into the person I am today. Without all the connections I made, I wouldn’t be living my truth.

The Daytrippers Team:  What motivates or inspires you to be creative?

Leon Logothetis: The act of creating is motivated by my desire to inspire others to be the best they can be.  If something I do speaks to someone else in even a small way then my creativity has been worth it. And another thing that inspires my creativity is that its fun to be creative!

The Daytrippers Team: Do you have any advice for children who are facing difficulties?

Leon Logothetis: As a kid I was bullied and felt very shy and introverted. I was lucky because I met some people who believed in me and showed me that I was worth a lot more than I thought I was. If anyone tries to put you down, or take away your joy, just remember that you are worth a lot more than you think … and if that doesn’t work contact me and I will tell you!

The Daytrippers Team:  Thank you so much Leon for your contribution.

Connect with Leon Logothethis: @LeonLogothetis

LeonLogothetis.comLeon Logothetis

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5 Minutes With … Stephen Clancy

Irish professional cyclist Stephen Clancy

Irish professional cyclist Stephen Clancy

The reputation of 22-year-old Irish cyclist STEPHEN CLANCY is impeccable. A bright, talented and kind person, it is no wonder he was asked to become an ambassador for Team Novo Nordisk; the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team. Stephen has raced 4598.25 kilometres in 33 race days in 2014 to places all over the world such as Azerbaijan, Taiwan, Denmark, Italy, France, Korea, USA, China and next week his team travels to the UK. We Are Daytrippers could not be more pleased to have his contribution to the 5 Minutes With … section and we will be proudly cheer on his team at the Tour of Britian from 7th – 14th September, 2014.  Best of luck to you in your next race, Stephen.

The Daytrippers Team:  Did you have a role model as a child?

Stephen Clancy:  Not really, however I always did look up to the top sportspeople in whatever sport I was interested in at the time as I grew up. I always admired how they were the best in the world at what they did, and what they did in order to achieve that success.

The Daytrippers Team: Who is currently your role model or mentor?

Stephen Clancy:  I would say all my Team Novo Nordisk teammates. They inspire me to combine professional cycling and live with Type 1 diabetes. Seeing that they can do it motivates me to succeed and they are always very understanding and willing to offer support.

The Daytrippers Team:  What is your talent and how do you cultivate it?

Stephen Clancy:  I consider myself a very positive, optimistic person. I try to look at the good in everything and don’t focus too much on the negative. As a result, I feel I can handle setbacks quite well and take positives from most things. I use them as stepping-stones and motivators to continue to progress and succeed.

Photograph copyrighted by Eibhir

Photograph copyright by Eibhir

The Daytrippers Team: Would you share a challenge in your life?

Stephen Clancy:  Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 19 years of age was certainly a challenge for me. It was a huge shock and difficult to understand at first. I overcame it by learning as much as I could through research and experience. In the end, this time and effort rewarded me by being able to well manage my diabetes and consequently being able to return to competitive cycling and eventually to race professionally.

The Daytrippers Team:  Do you have any advice for children who face difficulties?

Stephen Clancy:  You can still pursue your dreams. Since I was diagnosed, I’ve worn a medical ID bracelet on my wrist with the engraving “impossible is nothing”. I faced the challenge of overcoming the obstacles presented by my diabetes diagnosis and I’ve exceeded the expectations of what I thought I could achieve. This is not the only test I’ve encountered in my life. Everybody is different and everyone faces different difficulties, however whatever it may be in life, you must try to be positive and think optimistically to overcome the challenges life throws at you. You have one life, you have got to take the bad with the good and live it to the max.

The Daytrippers Team: Thank you so much Stephen!

Learn more about Team Novo Nordisk:  http://www.teamnovonordisk.com/

Stay connected with Stephen Clancy: @teamnovonordisk

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5 Minutes With … Louise Yates

English Illustrator and children's book author, Louise Yates.

English Illustrator and children’s book author, Louise Yates.

If you are lucky enough to meet talented Londoner LOUISE YATES do expect to be captivated.  Louise displays instant warmth and thoughtful intelligence with an artists’ inflection.  Perhaps that is partly why her gorgeous children’s books have scooped up countless prizes and international recognition.  The Daytrippers Team has read Dog Loves Books, Dog Loves Drawing and Dog Loves Counting so many times the edges have begun to fray!

Louise stands next to her portrait and chats to HRH Prince Charles

Louise stands next to her portrait and chats to HRH Prince Charles

At University, Ms. Yates read English at Christ Church in Oxford and she wrote a letter to Sir Quentin Blake to which he responded and they met to critique her portfolio.  That was over 10 years ago and the rest is history! We Are Daytrippers is happy to have had a brief interview with Louise and we look forward to buying her newest book Dog Loves Fairy Tales!

The Daytrippers Team:  Did you have a role model or mentor as a child?  

Louise Yates:  I’ve had many mentors. To me a mentor can be anyone who’s example you hope to follow – someone you know personally, or even someone you’ve read about or heard of. Even a small aspect of someone’s spirit or attitude can be your mentor: it needn’t be someone’s whole being that inspires and makes you wish to follow their example. Perhaps for this reason its best to look for the best in people. We all rub off on and influence each other and I think that by focusing on and cherishing the best in others we are more able to become a richer and more diverse mix of the good we encounter. I’m very grateful to the people in my life who have seen the best in me and given something of themselves.

The Daytrippers Team:  Who is currently your role model or mentor?

Louise Yates:  I heard earlier this year that Dr. Maya Angelou had died. I’d not heard of her before and I’ve since listened to a wonderful talk she gave. I’d like to study the things she said and wrote and try to learn from her.

The Daytrippers Team:  What is your creative talent and how do you cultivate it?

Louise Yates:  I write and illustrate, mainly creating children’s picture books, but I also love other forms of writing and art, particularly drawing and painting portraits and writing stories and poems. I cultivate this by finding time to be alone and time to be with others. I read and go to exhibitions. I love looking at the work of people I admire, and if I’m lucky enough to know them, I love spending time in their company. Friends of all kinds are essential to cultivating creative talent, especially as some forms of creativity can be quite solitary.

The Daytrippers Team:   Have you had any experience with disabled or terminally-ill people?

Louise Yates:  I was very lucky to go to schools that provided for able and disabled pupils and teachers. One of my favourite mentors was a teacher who taught me when I was seven or eight. She was born with a physical deformity that meant she was around the same height as us. She first inspired my love of poetry. She made our class feel like a family and each of us feel special. I still love reciting the poems she taught us.

Later, at a different school, I had a teacher who suffered from a severe and debilitating skin condition. She was very disfigured by her condition and movement was painful and challenging for her. Despite this, she was determined to become a teacher, and was training at the school. Sadly, she died unexpectedly as a result of a complication during an operation. She was very inspiring: we were very lucky to be taught how to be courageous and determined by someone who embodied those values.

When I was sixteen I worked in a textile factory that was run by, and that employed, people with disabilities. It was my first work experience and I met some wonderful people who looked after me and taught me how to print.

When I was at university I travelled to Bulgaria to find orphanages and institutions that needed volunteers. Many of the children I met there had been placed in the institutions because of their disabilities. They faced many challenges, but the greatest of all was neglect. The lady that helped us find the orphanages and who translated for us had a disability herself. Her family had supported her at home and her help was invaluable to us, she was very able and talented. It made me realise what a great advantage love and care gives people no matter what difficulties they face.

The greatest sadness in my childhood was the death of my Grandfather. He had cancer and his terminal diagnosis came some time before his death. I still feel very close to him – his expressions of generosity are a continuing gift to me and I still enjoy his sense of humour. I often laugh because I know something would have tickled him.

The Daytrippers Team:  Would you share a challenge in your life?

Louise Yates:  I think one of the greatest challenges is losing someone you love. I try to focus on the fact that love itself does not end and it has many ways of finding expression: it may be given to or received by someone specific, but it belongs to us all.

The Daytrippers Team:  Would you like to share a quote with children who face difficulties?

Louise Yates:  I like these words by Maya Angelou, she said: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.”

The Daytrippers Team:  Thank you so much Louise Yates.

Connect with Louise Yates:  @_DOGLOVES

http://www.louise-yates.com

See Louise in conversation with Sir Quentin Blake:

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5 Minutes With … Jeremy Dean

Jeremy Dean, Artist

Jeremy Dean, Artist

The clever, thought-provoking international artist JEREMY DEAN challenges the average human perspective.  Naturally talented and a hard-worker; Dean’s first project was an award-winning documentary called Dare Not Walk Alone.  The film exposed the civil rights movement and its aftermath in St. Augustine, Florida.  His Futurama Series continues to raise eyebrows and received continuous National press coverage as he toured the USA in an H2 Hummer converted into a horse-pulled stagecoach. Jeremy works in a variety of artistic realms; animation, drawing, interactive sculpture and installation.  He has spent this year in artist residencies preparing his next projects.  We Are Daytrippers chats to Mr. Dean about role models, mentors and creativity.

The Daytrippers Team:  What was your childhood like and did you have a role model?

Jeremy Dean:  I was raised the son of missionaries in the Amazon jungle of Peru and the Yucatan of Mexico.  As a kid we grew up among native Indian children, and we had almost no idea we were different.  In fact, we tried very hard to overcome any differences of language, culture, or food (especially food!) that made us or them, feel “other.”  In doing so we hunted with bows and arrows, fished for piranha and ate monkey on several occasions. During this time my parents were my role models.  I didn’t fully understand it at the time, but the way they approached life with an openness and acceptance of new experiences and people has always stuck with me.

The Daytrippers Team:  Who is your current role model or mentor?

Jeremy Dean:  When I was in college I had a first year art instructor who opened my eyes to art as a way of understanding and exploring the world. To this day I still count her as my mentor… Maureen O’Neill

Work in Progress combined chairs Jeremy Dean

Work in Progress
combined chairs
Jeremy Dean

The Daytrippers Team:  What is your creative talent and how did you cultivate it?

Jeremy Dean:  I would say that I’m not that talented, but I work hard.  I work really hard at thinking.  The nice thing about thinking is that we can all do it, basically at any time, any where.  You don’t need specialized equipment, tools or even an education… you just need curiosity, questions and a willingness to follow wherever the thought leads.  That’s not to say that thinking is not hard work, because it is… but i have found that it makes the making of art easier.  Thinking is working.  Drawing is thinking, and when you are making, hands can think on their own…

 

The Daytrippers Team:  Would you share a challenge in your life?  How did you overcome it and what did you learn?

Jeremy Dean:  Almost two years ago I found that I have a fractured vertebrae that is continually moving out of place, and will eventually shift so far that it will need to be fused.  I had a lot of difficulty walking, working and even sleeping.  I’m a pretty active person and have spent a lot of time surfing (which I could not do), so I started swimming.  I swam every day for almost 6 months and I started to get relief.  The condition won’t go away, and the pain is always there, but I found something I could do that I enjoyed and with a lot of work, I am seeing progress.  What I learned is that life is always going to be a series of obstacles… that is just the way it is.  Some of us have more then others, but we will all have them at some point. It’s important to know that when we are in the middle of an obstacle not to give up, remembering that at some point it will pass.

American Flags, 2011

Rended Flag Series, 2012 Jeremy Dean

 

The Daytrippers Team: What motivates or inspires you to be creative?

Jeremy Dean:  I’m pretty curious to figure out why things are the way they are… I’m not that motivated to try to make things that are cool (not that there is anything wrong with that) but I am really motivated to make things that help me understand how things work… or more specifically how  we as people work and how we relate to one another over time.  I’m pretty interested in the “why” of things.

Rended Flag Series, 2012 Jeremy Dean

Rended Flag Series, 2012 Jeremy Dean

The Daytrippers Team: Do you have any advice you might want to share to children who could be facing difficulties?

Jeremy Dean:  The poet Maya Angelou passed away recently and I find comfort in her words… You can not be any more human than you are Find a piece of art to love, and when you find it, recognize that the person who made it was a human just like you are human.  I think what she meant by this is; recognize  that the common denominator in art is our shared humanity. Others may have a better ear for music, their body may move more easily in a dance, drawing may come easier at first… but they can not be any more human than you.  People make art. What you have to make your own music, is yours, and what another might have to make her own painting is hers, but it does not change the fact that real human people with all of their own struggles and complications, figured out a way to exercise their own voice – and so can you.  You have everything you need to express your own vision, and in fact that is what art is – your own vision.  What others have, you don’t need – that is theirs – what you have is all you need- that is yours.  Your unique story, with all it’s complications, setback and heartbreaks is what gives you the platform to express what it means to be you.  We need to hear your voice, and when we recognize your particular song as something we also feel, then we understand what it means to be human.

The Daytrippers Team:  Thank you so much Jeremy.

Contact Jeremy through his agency Creative Thriftshop:  http://www.creativethriftshop.com/Artist/Bio_JeremyDean.htm

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5 Minutes With … Virginia Damtsa

Mere steps away from the Daytrippers office is the art gallery Riflemaker where director VIRGINIA DAMTSA might be found cavorting with global art collectors or educating a class of university students about contemporary visual art.  When you meet Virginia she oozes a cool charm mixed with wisdom, sophistication and a surprisingly genuine kindness that can be a rarity in the fine art world.  Perhaps no one in London can rival her expertly trained eye for art and ballerina looks.  We Are Daytrippers was lucky to receive a brief interview from the half-French-half-Greek-turned-Londoner goddess:

Virginia Damtsa, co-founder and director of Riflemaker gallery in soho London.

Virginia Damtsa, co-founder and director of Riflemaker gallery in soho London.

The Daytrippers Team:  Did you have a role model or mentor as a child?

Virginia Damtsa:  My parents were only 17 years old when they had me so I had to be responsible for myself from a very young age and become my own mentor.

The Daytrippers Team:  Do you currently have a role model or mentor?

Virginia Damtsa:  I am interested in successful business women and men stories and especially what propelled them to become successful.

The Daytrippers Team:  What is your creative talent and how did you cultivate it?

Virginia Damtsa: I work with artists; create exhibitions, enable private commissions, special projects, collaborations and sell their work.

The Daytrippers Team:  Would you share a challenge in your life and how you overcame it?

Virginia Damtsa:  Life is full of challenges so my strength lies in hope, belief, hard work and perspective.

The Daytrippers Team:  What motivates or inspires you to be creative?

Virginia Damtsa:  Being creative is not something you become, it is something you intrinsically are.  The way I think, feel and believe is through images.

The Daytrippers Team:  Do you have any advice you might want to share to children who may be facing difficulties?

Virginia Damtsa:  Have hope and belief and make every day exciting by trying to learn or do something new or good.

The Daytrippers Team:  Thank you Virginia.  xx

Stay connected to Virginia Damtsa:

@riflemaker1

http://www.virginiadamtsa.com/

http://www.riflemaker.org/s-index

 

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